Jerry Jarrett, the famed Memphis wrestler promoter and TNA co-founder, died at the age of 80.
Jerry Jarrett, who was born in 1942 and made his ring debut in 1965, spent his formative wrestling years in Tennessee’s NWA Mid-America, where he was a multi-time tag team champion. But, for all that he accomplished inside the ropes, Jarrett will be remembered most for his groundbreaking work as a promoter.
In 1977, Jarrett established the Continental Wrestling Association in Memphis. With talents like Harley Race, Terry Funk, Ric Flair, and especially Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler, the trio quickly began to dominate the Memphis region, and many of the CWA’s top programmes were designed around him. Much of the reason Memphis is seen as such an important link between wrestling’s territorial era and the modern era can be attributed to Jarrett’s booking, which emphasised deep-rooted personal concerns, intense feuds, and high-octane action.
During its peak years, Continental would often bring massive crowds to its signature venue, the Mid-South Coliseum. The outfit subsequently merged with World Class Championship Wrestling in 1989, forming the United States Wrestling Association, in which Jarrett sold his ownership to Lawler in 1995.
Jerry and Jeff Jarrett launched NWA: Total Nonstop Action, the promotion that would eventually become IMPACT Wrestling, seven years later. The Jarretts founded the company in May 2002 and sold it to Panda Energy in October of that year, while Jerry remained on the board of directors until 2005, when he resigned due to a disagreement over the promotion’s future. IMPACT, despite its troubles over the past 21 years, is still a North American wrestling fixture today.
Jarrett is survived by his wife, Deborah, and their four children.